Sheriff’s Deputy Commended for Bravery

The Dukes County Sheriff’s Office offers our deepest condolences to the friends and family of the unnamed shooting victim outside of the Prudential Center in Boston on Tuesday, June 4th. 

In the wake of this tragedy, we wish to recognize and commend Deputy Anthony Gould of the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office for his bravery; Deputy Gould was traveling off-duty on Tuesday, and was a bystander to the tragic events that occured. Relying on his instincts and training, Deputy Gould jumped in on the scene to provide immediate emergency medical care to the victim. Deputy Gould recently completed an ALERRT training for Island Emergency Responders coordinated by the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office, which included emergency casualty care with a focus on treating victims of gunshot wounds. Deputy Gould’s actions embody the spirit of integrity, professionalism and respect, and reflect the importance of always being ready to provide mutual aid to our emergency responder brothers and sisters regardless of jurisdictional boundaries. Our hearts remain with the victim’s loved ones at this time. 

Photo Credit: Lane Turner/ The Boston Globe

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Sheriff Ogden Endorses The Comprehensive CARE Act to Combat the Opioid and Substance Use Epidemic

Sheriff Ogden officially endorses the CARE Act to help combat the opioid epidemic.

The Dukes County Sheriff’s Office joins over 200 other organizations as the fight against the opioid substance abuse epidemic continues to affect our local and national communities.

Massachusetts families have been hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis, with a rate of opioid overdose deaths that was almost twice the national average in 2017. First responders, law enforcement officials, and health providers here in Massachusetts and across the country are on the front lines of this public health crisis, working tirelessly to save lives and find longterm solutions. For too long, they have been forced to shoulder the burden of addressing this crisis on their own.

As the opioid crisis has devastated Massachusetts communities, policymakers in Washington have been slow to act in a meaningful way. Congress and this administration have not done enough to provide first responders with the resources they need to save lives.

As Massachusetts sheriffs, we see the deadly consequences of inaction. Addiction is an illness, but far too many can’t afford to get treatment. Individuals in Massachusetts prisons are among the most vulnerable to addiction and overdose. According to a recent study, an estimated 65% of incarcerated people nationwide suffer from addiction, yet only 11% receive treatment. Those who don’t get treatment in prison face an astronomically high risk of overdose when they are released. In Massachusetts, formerly incarcerated individuals are 120 times more likely to die from opioid-related overdose than the general population.

Massachusetts public health and law enforcement officials are working to build programs that provide evidence-based treatment services to individuals with substance use disorders during their incarceration. We’re also working to help these individuals overcome addiction and reintegrate with their communities after they leave our facilities, but resource constraints make it impossible for us to provide help to everyone who needs it.

Today, we’re calling for greater federal support to bring an end to the opioid crisis in the Commonwealth. We support Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE Act), the most ambitious bill ever put forward in the U.S. Senate to confront the opioid epidemic. It would allocate $100 billion over ten years to put decision-making power in the hands of first responders and local leaders and make addiction treatment available to everyone who needs it. The CARE Act would expand access to medication-assisted treatment and create a targeted grant program to make sure resources go directly to communities that have been hit the hardest. We know that this bill, if enacted, would help us get the resources we desperately need to support those in our care.

Importantly, the CARE Act provides a comprehensive path to ensure the full range of recovery services are fully funded, including housing, child care services, and even legal or career services. The CARE Act also allows for the expansion of early intervention services, providing individuals access to treatment and recovery services as soon as they need them. Finally, it helps workers who are at risk of or currently struggling with addiction maintain employment, or even re-enter the workforce. These services, along with prevention and treatment services, will ultimately help reduce recidivism rates among formerly incarcerated individuals. Resources allocated under the CARE Act will not only help save lives, they’ll help change lives for the better, too.

We can’t afford to wait any longer to pass this comprehensive legislation. We’re proud to stand behind Senator Warren’s bill, and look forward to working with her to get it signed into law.

For more information about The Comprehensive CARE Act to Combat the Opioid and Substance Use Epidemic, please click here

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Dukes County Sheriff’s Office Promotions

We are proud to announce that Deputy Michael Cutrer and Deputy Ramon Espino have both been promoted to the position of Sergeant. These individuals have exceeded the expectations of their duties and have earned the respect of their fellow officers, administration and communities. Congratulations to both officers on their well deserved promotions.

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Annual Town Meeting Support

On behalf of the men and women that proudly serve our communities as Deputies at the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office, we would like to thank the voters of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and West Tisbury, who attended their respective Town Meetings in on Tuesday, April 9 and supported the funding of maintenance costs for the Dukes County Regional Emergency Radio System upgrades.  Also, special thanks to Selectmen, Finance Committee members and Town Administrators, who had been instrumental in evaluating and recommending our request for fiscal support in Fiscal Year 2020.

The Tisbury Town Meeting is recessed until Wednesday, April 10. We are asking Tisbury voters to support Article 28, which will provide Tisbury’s share of maintenance cost funding.  The decision of voters in Chilmark on April 22 and Aquinnah on May 14 will complete the regional commitment to support the modernization of the outdated radio system, increase reliability and provide public safety rated compatible radio equipment across the Island.

Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS First Responders in Dukes County are seeking your continued support to assist the Sheriff’s Office in maintaining and improving the communication system. They count on you so you can count on them!

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Defendants ready for their closeup?

Criminal defendants who want to contest their district court bail will no longer have to be brought by ferry to Woods Hole and then make a 32-mile, 52-minute ride to Barnstable County Superior Court for a hearing before a judge that’s likely to last less than 10 minutes.

“It’s an excellent use of technology that protects an individual defendant’s rights to an immediate bail review,” Barnstable Superior Court Judge Robert Rufo told The Times. “It’s fast. It’s efficient.”

Rufo, who is presiding over superior court in Edgartown this month and is the regional administrative judge for Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket counties, introduced videoconferencing as a means to do bail reviews in Barnstable County. When he made a trip to the Vineyard shortly after Dukes County Clerk T. George Davis took over in January, he suggested videoconferencing for Island bail reviews to Davis and Sheriff Robert Ogden.

“If there’s no superior court judge in Edgartown, which there rarely is, we have to send the petitioner over to Barnstable for a hearing,” Davis said. “It’s expensive and inefficient.”

The video equipment cost about $6,500, which the sheriff’s department paid for, Ogden said.

“That’s a drop in the bucket compared to what it costs to transport off-Island,” Ogden said.

A trip for a bail review hearing includes the ferry charge, two corrections officers who have to travel with the prisoner, and coverage back at the jail. “We estimated that the new system will pay for itself after only eight or nine trips we no longer have to provide,” Ogden said. Each trip is estimated at $750-$800.

What often takes eight hours off-Island because of travel and waiting time is reduced to a 10 to 15 minutes in the safety of the jail, Davis said.

Rufo estimated there are five to seven bail reviews per month from the Island, sometimes more in the summer. “They can come in spurts,” he said. A 2017 Supreme Judicial Court ruling known as Brangan v. Commonwealth made bail reviews more common, Rufo said. In that ruling, the state’s highest court found that a judge “must consider the defendant’s financial resources but is not required to set bail in an amount the defendant can afford if other relevant considerations weigh more heavily than the defendant’s ability to prove the necessary security for his appearance at trial.”

Rufo pointed out that bail is set to ensure a defendant’s appearance in court and is not to be punitive.

“Quite often a defendant is objecting because he can’t post the bail he got, which means the defendant would have to sit in jail until he resolves the case,” Davis said.

With the videoconferencing for bail reviews, the defendant is allowed to communicate with his attorney without having the interaction recorded. The equipment is set up in a safe and secure room within the jail, and any private conferring can be muted.

Davis, Ogden, and Rufo all touched on the security implications. Instead of someone leaving the jail, they stay within the secure facility, Ogden said. No road trip and no ancient lockup in the Barnstable Superior Court, where there are too many opportunities for things to go wrong.

“I was gratified that within 60 days of my approaching newly elected clerk George Davis and sheriff Bob Ogden… they put it together in record time,” Rufo said. “They saw the savings to taxpayers and the benefits to security.”

By George Brennan -April 2, 2019

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Healthy Aging MV

On Tuesday, March 5, 2019, Healthy Aging Martha’s Vineyard hosted a Housing Options Forum for Elders at the MV Hebrew Center. The over 100 in attendance were welcomed by Peter Temple, Executive Director of MV Nonprofit Collaborative. Massachusetts State Representative Dylan A. Fernandes presented the legislative “big picture” on housing options and funding for individuals as well as organizations that my be available to provide support to our community as we attempt to address the need for affordable housing.

Major Sterling Bishop, Director of Community Outreach at the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office presented Project Lifesaver, a component of the Dukes County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach programs and a nationally recognized public safety program that provides law enforcement, fire/rescue, and caregivers with a program designed to protect, and when necessary, quickly locate individuals with cognitive  disorders who are prone to the life threatening behavior of  wandering.

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Supporting the U.S. Coast Guard, Menemsha

Dear Members of the Community:

For over 50 years, you have generously supported the Dukes County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association in our mission to protect and promote the best interests of its members and the citizens of Dukes County in turn, we have supported our community through numerous public safety and service programs, events, scholarships as well as individuals in need.

Today, we are asking that you to join us in support of our fellow public safety partners in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Menemsha. As you may already be aware, on December 22, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Coast Guard were victims of a partial government shut down. Though this is expected to be a temporary situation, officers of the U.S. Coast Guard will not receive compensation during this lapse in appropriations. It was recently reported that the Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard have identified a way to pay our military workforce on Dec. 31, 2018. However, this is a “one-time action” which only applies to certain individuals and does not guarantee compensation in January 2019.

Despite being one of the smaller military branches, the U.S. Coast Guard Menemsha is crucial to our safety, security and way of life on the island. They not only keep our waters safe but are called upon to provide emergency rescues and searches in times of need. Recent articles in the MV Times and Vineyard Gazette shows the need for our U.S. Coast Guard Menemsha Station as they were called upon to in the search for two missing fishermen from a vessel that sank off Block Island.

As you can imagine, the uncertainty of the next paycheck may result in the U.S. Coast Guard Menemsha officers having difficulty focusing on their critical responsibilities, meeting their financial obligations and supporting their own families. In these moments, we are reminded that our island community depends on one another as a way of life.

Please join us as we support our fellow public safety partners of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Menemsha. Checks can be sent to the Coast Guard Spouses’ Association of Menemsha, 20 Edy’s Island Way, Chilmark, MA 02535

Major Sterling Bishop, President
Dukes County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association             

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